Greenwash Watch: Pitney Bowes Chairman on the Benefits of Junk Mail

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Smith & Wesson were unavailable to talk about gun control, so instead the New York Times got Michael Critelli, Executive Chairman of Pitney Bowes, to defend junk mail against attempts by Leonardo, Oprah and others who consider junk mail an environmental problem and are supporting legislation to have a do-not-mail list, similar to the do-not-call list.

Q. What is the argument that Oprah Winfrey and Leonardo DiCaprio are making?critelli photo
A. It starts with the view that it’s really bad for the environment to cut down trees. The most popular argument is that trees help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But the flaw in that argument is that the people who cut the trees are doing it as part of a harvesting process. The result is that you actually end up with more trees. We do not have a tree population problem in the United States. We have more trees than we used to have. The idea that we’re cutting trees and not replacing them is just dead wrong.

Q. Isn’t a lot of this mail ending up in landfills?

A. What we discovered in a survey that we jointly sponsored is that mail in the landfills accounts for about 2 percent of municipal waste, whereas the public believes that it accounts for over a third of municipal waste. There is just a wild misperception.

More in the New York Times

As best as we can find in a quick search, each American is responsible for 1675 pounds of municipal waste per year. 2% of that is 33.5 pounds, for each of 300 million Americans, or just over 10 billion pounds of paper that is manufactured, printed on, moved by vehicle, delivered to people who don't want it, picked up by garbage trucks paid for by taxpayers and dumped in the ground (64% of it) or recycled at municipal expense.(36%)

And he thinks it's just fine. Wow.

Two Machines, One Concept: Making Waste Valuable
NationMaster — Nothing But The Facts, Ma'am :

Tags: Recycling | Waste

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